Julie Sampson




As we climbed the slope

we’ve followed the route of the old stone wall
dappled light’s playing tricks of blue on bells
then shaping and sharing our way
as it shades upwards over cobbled-path’s
curves; a scatter of white flowers
lines the path, as shattered bone.

Just right of the lych-gate
at  the summit of long Pilgrim’s Avenue
below the site of Okehampton’s Saxon church,
there’s the black-hole of a badger’s set
and its over-stitched white garlic spread.
We’ve stumbled on a place of crossings.
Family labyrinths are running beneath and across
this graveyard’s Styx. Badger is Charon,
grave plunderer, under-
ground ferryman.

Other lives, signs of roots’ growth rituals
spread, like lichen
on our Harris slab.
Stones have toppled; one
is ours; she’s covered with
pretty stitchwort, pennywort,
creeping moss.

In the undergrowth beside the set
where badger cubs sleep
the genetic threads of family
weave with the thriving microbial community –
skeletons’ hosting
moles, earthworms –
delicate the little-springtail.

i.m. Richard Harris & Jane Harris-Sprague


Julie Sampson‘s poetry has been widely published and placed in competitions. Edited Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems (Shearsman, 2009); collection, Tessitura (Shearsman, 2014). Both from Amazon. Non-fiction MS., ‘Women Writers in the Devon Landscape’, shortlisted for The Impress Prize, 2015.

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